Mark Cuban gets asked about trends of news from other teams around the NBA because he’ll usually give us in the media an answer. Often a pretty good one.
So it shouldn’t be a shock he was asked about the Rockets’ choice to fire Kevin McHale last week. To Cuban’s credit, he didn’t use the opportunity to take another swipe at Houston GM Daryl Morey. Instead, he veered the answer into how hard it is to hire a good coach in the NBA. From Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe:
“So I’ve said it before, the hardest thing for an NBA owner to do is hire a coach. The easiest thing to do is fire a coach. The reason it’s hard to hire a coach, coaches are great at date-face, they know exactly what your weaknesses are and they know exactly how to sell to those weaknesses, so it’s really difficult to pick it right and it’s 90 percent luck.”
Cuban recently signed his coach, Rick Carlisle, to a five-year extension.
“If the hardest thing to find is a good coach, you marry him, you put a ring on it,” Cuban said.
Cuban has found his guy.
Coaches do their research certainly know what to say and what an owner/GM wants to hear, and there are guys such ad Vinny Del Negro, who people around the league will tell you is a fantastic interview (and a genuinely nice guy). The hard part for any owner or front office is to see past that sit-down and understand if the guy with the great interview is a good fit with style with the GM’s vision for the team, and with the players in the room.
Even that may not be enough — McHale is a solid NBA coach who seemed to connect with this team last season and had them winning 56 games and reaching the conference finals, and then 11 games into the new season was kicked to the curb. He didn’t forget how to coach over the summer, but situations changed, James Harden showed up in less than ideal shape (by NBA standards) and the Rockets are off to a slow start. It hasn’t gotten any better under Bickerstaff (which isn’t a surprise).